Friday, February 5, 2016

A Brief History of the Cocktail Cherry

     Today we cant seem to make a cocktail without putting "a cherry on top".  This is a tradition that started according to historians in the 1860's.    By the end of the century, it seems that the barmen were looking for something new, and the olive moved in.

     "Cherries were common from the 1860s to 1899 when olives replaced them.  According to an article from June 22, 1899, in The Racine Daily Journal, "In some of the swell uptown establishments the cocktail olive is getting in its work and bids fair to supplant the toothsome cherry with the public."

     So it's no wonder that good cherries were hard to find for decades. Modern American tipplers didn't rediscover Luxardo's garnish until 2004, when famed bartender Audrey Saunders received four jars of them to use in her legendary New York watering hole Pegu Club. Bartenders never looked back. If you planned to serve a cherry garnish anywhere in the five boroughs from then on, it had better have been a very good one.

     Maraschino liqueur, Luxardo's other signature product, has been around even longer, debuting in 1821-the year when Girolamo Luxardo and his wife, Maria, started the company. (The couple had moved to Zara a few years earlier from Genoa.) Zara was known for sour marasca cherry-based rosolio maraschino liqueur, but the Luxardo family came up with its own recipe and packed the concoction in a distinctive straw-covered bottle.

     This is the key ingredient that makes the El Floridita and the Papa Dobles Daiquiri's their special flavor.   It is a great addition to several other cocktails as well as a greaat ingredient for giving your new development recipes a little bit of a special flavor.   "The Luxardo brand is the gold standard here and always has been," wrote David Wondrich in his 2007 award-winning book Imbibe!